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Etel Adnan

The two untitled paintings by Etel Adnan (b. 1925, Beirut) from 2010 belong to a series of geometric abstractions that the artist has been making since the late 1950s. Working on a flat surface, Adnan uses a palette knife to add paint directly onto loose pieces of canvas, resulting in tessellated blocks of pure colour. Reminiscent of landscapes, in which circles stand for the sun and lines divide sea and sky, these paintings draw on places that Adnan has lived in or visited and reflect the deep respect for nature that is reflected in the artist's work: 'My painting is very much a reflection of my immense love for the world, the happiness to just be, for nature, and the forces that shape a landscape.' This joy is epitomised by the artist's vivid and distinctive colour palette, the 'brightness' of which was inspired by Adnan's time working and living in California at the beginning of her artistic career.

Combining watercolour marks, abstract hieroglyph-like symbols and a poem in English, the untitled leporello from 1965 is an early example of Etel Adnan's use of leporellos, an accordion-style book format that originated on the Asian continent. Best known as a poet and novelist until the mid-2000s, the artist saw this format as a way to combine the mediums of painting and writing, as well as a means to expand the physical parameters of her work. Adnan is quoted as saying, 'I like the flow, the apparent lack of boundaries, the river image of these long unfolding papers.' Language is a frequent concern of the polyglot artist, who grew up speaking Turkish and Greek at home, French at school and Arabic 'on the streets'. Initially using leporellos to learn Arabic poems that Adnan copied by hand, the artist later began to include original texts in English. Created in 1965 at the height of the Vietnam War, the poetry featured in these pages ends with the line 'America at war' and is thought to have been written in response to this conflict, which lasted from 1955 to 1975.

Artworks

  1. Etel Adnan Untiled, 2010

    Huile sur toile
    24 x 30 cm
    Collection Mudam Luxembourg
    Acquisition 2019
    Vue de l’exposition Etel Adnan et les modernes, Mudam Luxembourg, 06.06.2019 – 08.09.2019
    © Photo : Rémi Villaggi / Mudam Luxembourg

  1. Etel Adnan Untiled, 1965

    Leporello plié, aquarelle sur papier
    Fermé 21,2 x 7,6 x 1,7 cm
    30 pages à 20,8 x 7,6 cm et 2 pages de couverture
    Collection Mudam Luxembourg
    Acquisition 2019
    Vue de l’exposition Etel Adnan et les modernes, Mudam Luxembourg, 06.06.2019 – 08.09.2019
    © Photo : Rémi Villaggi / Mudam Luxembourg

  1. Etel Adnan Untitled, 2010

    Huile sur toile
    24 x 30 cm
    Collection Mudam Luxembourg
    Acquisition 2019
    Vue de l’exposition Etel Adnan et les modernes, Mudam Luxembourg, 06.06.2019 – 08.09.2019
    © Photo : Rémi Villaggi / Mudam Luxembourg

  1. Etel Adnan, "Untitled", 2016, Collection Mudam
    Etel Adnan Untitled, 2016

    Huile sur toile
    32 x 41 cm
    Collection Mudam Luxembourg
    Acquisition 2020
    © Photo : Rémi Villaggi | Mudam Luxembourg

  1. Etel Adnan, "Voyageur", 1967/2017, Collection Mudam
    Etel Adnan Voyageur, 1967/2017

    Tapisserie en laine tissée à la main
    140 x 192 cm
    Collection Mudam Luxembourg
    Acquisition 2020
    Vue de l’exposition Etel Adnan et les modernes, Mudam Luxembourg, 06.06 – 08.09.2019
    © Photo : Rémi Villaggi / Mudam Luxembourg

Marina Abramović, "Video Portrait Gallery", 1975-1998 | Collection Mudam Luxembourg | Acquisition 2001
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